‘Technical challenges’ keep Tsai from celebrations: DPP

By Joseph Yeh ,The China Post

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday said its party chairwoman and presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen did consider attending the Republic of China (R.O.C.) National Day celebration in Taipei next Monday, but “technical challenges” that are unable to be overcome prevented her from doing so. DPP spokesperson Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) told reporters that it is his party’s stance that Taiwan is an independent country with its current name as the R.O.C.

Tsai, as the DPP leader, has never excluded the option to attend the celebration at the Presidential Office plaza Oct. 10. However, because Tsai has a campaign event scheduled for the same day as part of an ongoing around-the-country campaign tour, the candidate is unable to make it all the way back to Taipei. Tsai will instead participate in a flag-raising ceremony Monday in Tainan, which is on the route of her campaign event, Liang noted. The DPP spokesman made the comment in response to a public poll released by a Chinese-language newspaper yesterday revealing that nearly 70 percent of pan-green supporters want Tsai to take part in the main celebration event in front of the Presidential Office Building. Liang said the party’s presidential candidate would not change the schedule of her campaign activity, which many supporters are set to attend, since a last-minute cancellation would be inappropriate. On Thursday in Taiwan’s southernmost tip, Cape Eluanbi, Pingtung County, Tsai and her vice presidential running mate, Su Jia-chyuan, launched their 11-day campaign tour. Entitled “Together with You,” the scheduled 461.6-kilometer route includes stops in 79 townships and 14 cities and counties along Provincial Highway No. 1, in what is reportedly the longest cross-country trail in campaigning history, according to the DPP. Tsai yesterday reiterated that her absence from the ceremony has nothing to do with her loyalty to the country. Fear Being Taken Advantage of: DPP

Meanwhile, Tsai’s close aide said that one of the main reasons that the chairwoman decided not to attend the ceremony is to avoid being taking advantage of by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT), according to the Chinese-language United Evening News report yesterday. The DPP is worried about what Tsai should do if other people who attend the celebration in the front plaza of the Presidential Office cry out “long live the R.O.C.,” the aide said in the report.

Meanwhile, Chuang Po-chun (莊伯仲), director of the KMT’s Culture and Communications Committee, criticized Tsai for her decision. He said President Ma Ying-jeou participated annually such celebrations during DPP’s previous administration during his tenure as Taipei mayor. The incident only shows that Tsai, in terms of poise and breadth of mind, is of no match to Ma, he noted.